I decided to try my hand at building a fly rod this year. Did a lot of reading on the web and purchased a couple of used books off Amazon. Plus some advise from a professional rod builder while in AZ.
I got 2 blanks from Roger Penrose off eBay and a third blank from a close out with Utmost . I started with the blank from Utmost. It was a 10’6” 7 weight single-handed blank, but I wanted to use it to build a two handed switch rod. I tried a technique for the grip that used a commercial grip (7 inch) and sliced in some fancy cork to extend it to 10 inches. I added a reel seat that allowed me to put on detachable fighting buts, one is 1.5 inches the other is 5 inches.The extended fore grip moved the flex point forward and after completion, doing a measurement to see what weight the rod worked best at indicated it now was best at 6 weight. So I have a 10’6” 6 weight SH rod, with long fighting butt, it is a 11’ 6 weight switch rod. Made some mistakes during wrap and it nothing fancy, but it very functional and I love the action.
The second rod I attempted was one for my grand daughter. It is on a 7’6” 3/4 weight 2 piece pink blank. I got this from Roger Penrose off eBay. I used metallic purple thread, with silver metallic accents and put a feather art segment on it. I used a commercial pre-made grip and black reel seat, with rosewood insert and black guides. I took my time with all the wraps and it came out very nice. I found a new Okuma reel at Goodwill and now she not only has a rod, but a nice 3/4 reel to match. It cast a DT4F line very nicely. I didn’t have any other 4 weight lines to try, but am very happy with the way this rod works.
The last of he rods for this winter is a light trout switch rod. I used a 4 piece, 3/4 weight, 10’ blank from Roger Penrose. Evergreen thread with silver accents for the wraps, black reel seat and guides. I added a 3” extension to the blank, and with a 10 inch fore grip and 3 inch aft grip, it makes a nice rod. I custom build the grips and left them oversize, in making golf clubs, I learned that larger grips reduce hand fatigue, and it seems to work on this rod also. This rod is a true 3/4, I will probably use Wulff Ambush Taper in 4 weight on it, but haven’t tested that yet. I cast the DT4F perfectly in SH mode. I have tried a few custom lines I constructed, but haven’t got it tuned in yet. Using a WF6F for spey work now, but think the Wulff will do best, once I have it.